Barack Obama meets with Dmitry Medvedev in 2009. Some conservatives have accused Obama of being soft on Russia. (AP Photo/Jim Young.)
Not often do you get a near-complete summary of just about everything that President Obama is doing right when it comes to arms control, disarmament, and related topics, but there it is in the pages of the Washington Post. Let’s remember to thank Douglas Feith, Jim Woolsey, and the rest of the hardy band of hawks and neoconservatives who, despite their staggering blunders of 2001-2005, keep on tickin’.
In an op-ed entitled “Obama’s ‘nuclear-zero’ rhetoric is dangerous," Feith, Woolsey et al. give the president a backhanded compliment for having “good and idealistic intentions,” but then go on to accuse him of being soft on North Korea, Iran, Russia and other would-be foes and of adopting policies that will lead allies, from Asia to the Middle East, to build more (not less) nukes.
Happily, they provide us with seven items that Obama touts when speaking to "audiences gratified by talk of disarmament,” i.e., pretty much everyone in the world except for Feith, Woolsey and their friends:
When Obama administration officials speak of nuclear weapons, they generally focus on audiences gratified by talk of disarmament, especially US disarmament. Hence, the administration’s (1) opposition to developing a reliable, new nuclear warhead; (2) opposition to ever testing our warheads again; (3) support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; (4) support for deep new cuts in nuclear force levels; (5) eagerness for a new treaty with Russia to make such cuts a legal requirement; (6) hints of funding cuts for US nuclear infrastructure (in violation of earlier promises to increase such funding, which were pledged in 2010 to win Senate votes for the “New START” nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia); and (7) endorsement of “nuclear zero.”
All good ideas, as far as I’m concerned, though it would be good if Obama made each one a slightly higher priority.
The op-ed was a distillation of an Open Letter to Obama from a larger flock of 20 hawks, including John Bolton, who urged the president to beef up America’s nukes, not cut them:
According to published reports, you are considering further, draconian and perhaps unilateral cuts in the numbers of nuclear weapons in our arsenal. We respectfully recommend that this plan be abandoned in favor of the fulfillment of commitments you made at the time of the New START Treaty to: modernize all three legs of the Triad; ensure the safety and deterrent effectiveness of the weapons with which they are equipped; and restore the critical industrial base that supports these forces.
You’d think that having been so catastrophically wrong about everything during the administration of George W. Bush, these folks would have a hard time getting the Washington Post to print their op-ed. Apparently not.
Read Robert Dreyfuss on the $6 trillion price tag for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will be hitting Americans in the wallet for years to come.